Philosophy & Pedagogy

Information Literacy Teaching Philosophy

The Information Literacy program at Champlain College is rooted in the conviction that we are teaching students how to think about information in an increasingly rapid, complex world. Our goal is for students to become invested in refining their information skills and to apply those skills in multiple contexts: in the classroom, in the library, on the web, and in their daily lives. The Information Literacy program is delivered through Champlain's Core Curriculum, a four year, integrated, interdisciplinary course of study that uses inquiry-based learning to engage students in questioning the past, understanding the present, and envisioning the future. The embedded Information Literacy program, like the Core Curriculum itself, is designed to be incremental and inquiry-based. Faculty and librarians collaborate to reinforce and assess key IL competencies in each year of the program.

Pedagogy of Information Literacy Instruction

The information literacy program uses the Inquiry Method to engage students in conversations and questions implicit in building skills and practices to effectively locate, evaluate, use, and attribute information.

The Inquiry Method is also used in Champlain's Core Curriculum. The Core's description of the Inquiry Method is as follows:


In the Inquiry Method, students are guided to explore content to answer particular questions. These questions are often "big" questions that cannot be satisfied without considering the viewpoint of multiple disciplines. The emphasis in the Inquiry Method is on learning to think critically and to reflect on and become cognizant of this process. Inquiry isn't about memorizing facts; instead, it is about forming an educated response to what you encounter in the world.

The emphasis on forming "an educated response" and developing "habits of mind" resonated deeply with the vision for Information Literacy at Champlain and our commitment to evaluating and refining pre-existing students' information habits more broadly.

We use inquiry, active-learning, individual and small group work, and technology in our sessions. Some examples of this include using YouTube videos of real-world examples of plagiarism to talk about the ethical use of information. Another is our use of text messaging for students to share their information habits in order to engage in a conversation about awareness of information behavior. Our intentional use of technology in the classroom demonstrates librarians' willingness to experiment and challenges students' assumptions about what they can expect in a library session.